tanaka-ubaldo-santana

Blue Jays Plus has once again done some excellent digging around with sources purported to have knowledge of the inner workings of the Jays, revealing on Monday that “multiple major league sources” are saying the club is “heavy on Masahiro Tanaka, along with the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.”

It would be easy to scoff — none of the major media outlets in this city have reported as much, including ones from the supremely-connected outlet that shares an owner with the club itself — but I kinda can’t, because I’ve actually heard some of the same types of things myself. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has noticed my unwillingness to be dismissive of the club’s chances on Tanaka, or some of the comments I’ve made over the course of an increasingly anxious winter. I don’t know how much I believe it, but I definitely believe that even if it was true, the Jays would be real mum about it — more mum than this, you’d kinda think — given what happened the last time a notable Japanese player was posted. But it is what it is.

Now, does the fact that people from two blogs have heard rumblings that the Jays are far more interested in Tanaka than they have allowed to be publicly known mean that it’s necessarily true? Shitballs no. Especially given that we’re talking about a club with a secrecy-loving general manager who can have it suggested, without anyone blinking an eye, that “sometimes his own talent evaluators don’t know what he’s doing,” as Nick Cafardo did in his latest for the Boston Globe back on Sunday. And it certainly doesn’t mean that, even if they are more deeply in pursuit than seems plausible to most, that the Jays would actually be able to outbid a determined New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers, given the disparity in the kinds of financial resources it’s believed are available to each club.

We all know who owns the Jays, though. And there are many levels on which it makes sense to at least try, and try really fucking hard.

Tanaka is the best free agent available in the area of the Jays’ biggest (or, let’s be honest, second-biggest) concern; he’s a supremely young free agent, as he’ll pitch 2014 as a 25-year-old; he’s a supremely talented player, who Baseball America ranks behind just three prospects in all of baseball; he costs no draft pick and nothing in terms of young talent to acquire; maybe best of all, swiping him from the clutches of the Yankees would be a tremendous win, not unlike the Mariners’ swoop for Robinson Cano, that would instantly undo so much of the grief of a stagnant off-season, and go a long way towards re-energizing a fan base beaten so badly down by a thoroughly dispiriting 2013.

The beauty is, too, that if, as you’d completely expect, they come up short in this supposedly-heavy pursuit, it’s not like they don’t have contingencies waiting for them, either. Specific ones, according to Blue Jays Plus.

In the post I wrote on Monday morning I looked at the suggestion from Ken Rosenthal that the Jays are a leading candidate to sign either Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana, but a single source who spoke to Blue Jays Plus suggests it’s not quite so up in the air. The Jays, they were told, “prefer Santana to Jimenez because the latter’s wonky mechanics are very unconducive to repeatability.”

Not only that, their source claims that “many teams (about half of major league baseball actually) are talking with Santana’s camp and have been throughout the winter, but it appears as if only two teams will make formal offers once the dust settles with the Masahiro Tanaka negotiations. The first is the Blue Jays, and the other team is the team that loses out on the bidding for Tanaka between the Yankees and Dodgers.”

The current demand, they’re told, has dropped to about five years and $85-million, down from an initial asking price of $105-million over the same term.

For the record, I haven’t heard any of this stuff (not that I hear a lot of stuff anyway), and while elements of it seem realistic enough — the supposed prices are in line with expectations — I definitely have a hard time swallowing the idea that anyone knows already which teams will make a formal offer for Santana three weeks from now– and that it’s only going to be two.

The bigger question is, though, should it be Santana that the Jays are zeroing in on?

For an organization a little worryingly scouting-focussed, citing mechanical issues as the key separator between the two pitchers doesn’t seem entirely out of character. A simple Google search for “Ubaldo Jimenez mechanics” gives some idea of the vast extent of the problem over the years — peaking, as they did, with a major drop in velocity during a horrific 2012, in which he was about replacement level, posting a 5.40 ERA and 5.06 FIP — and while it’s true that most of the stories from the second half of 2013 onward are overwhelmingly positive, it’s hard to think that Jimenez is out of the woods in terms of harnessing his command just yet (durability, unlike with most “poor mechanics” guys, isn’t the issue here).

“Cleveland pitching coach Mickey Callaway started to work aggressively with Jimenez this past spring, getting him to speed up his delivery and keep himself more online toward the plate when he strides,” wrote Keith Law in his Top 50 Free Agents piece for ESPN.com back in November. It sounds encouraging, but he nonetheless called the lack of track record with these changes “terrifying.” Ultimately, though, he ranked Ubaldo the fourth-best free agent available (Tanaka was third, Santana was sixth), due mostly to his age, pure stuff, and that sweet delicious control, rediscovered just in the nick of time.

Santana’s transformation into a pitcher capable of commanding the type of dollar figures he’s asking for wasn’t exactly smooth, either. In fact, he was somehow worse than Ubaldo in 2012, but fantastic in 2013. In Law’s capsule he cites a drop in home run rate — coupled with the move from spacious Anaheim to Kansas City, which (though Kauffman is hardly a hitter’s paradise) makes it all the more impressive, and the increased use of a sinker with newfound life, which should make the changes more sustainable — as the biggest reason to believe in the turnaround.

What’s problematic about the stories of both of these pitchers, then, is the fact that neither is really the same guy as we’ve seen for the bulk of his track record. That would make 2013 the ideal season to look at to compare the two, but that isn’t so easy either, as Ubaldo’s 2013 was a tale of two halves. He was brilliant in the second half of the season, but awful in the first.

Even then — if we’re willing to focus so narrowly on such a small range of data — there is a strength of schedule issue that needs to be accounted for when comparing the two, as Santana faced considerably stronger lineups from July 1st onward. This came up in the comments the other day, and a bit of crude math led me to find that, on average, the lineups faced by Santana from that point on had about a ten point advantage in wRC+ over the ones Jimenez faced. That said, it’s not like the results from each pitcher were even, either.

In the second half Ubaldo posted a 1.82 ERA, a 2.19 FIP, a 2.99 xFIP, a .271 wOBA against, and — most impressively, for him — a 29.1% strikeout rate, and a walk rate of just 7.9% (his career rate is 10.5% and in the first half of 2013 it was an awful 12.2%).

For Santana, the second half yielded a 3.07 ERA, 4.01 FIP, 3.92 xFIP, a .299 wOBA against, and walk and strikeout rates of 6.6% and 17.4% respectively.

The difference in the strength of schedule ought to make those numbers a little closer than they appear, but it looks like an impressive advantage for Jimenez. If you believe in the mechanical changes and this woefully small sample, that is. Poke at it a little, though, and the water gets quite muddy again.

For example, though we’ve established that it isn’t entirely fair to evaluate these pitchers based on their track records, there are a couple of things that I think warrant attention. One is innings pitched. While both have been extremely durable – between the majors and minors, Santana has made at least 30 starts per season since 2005, save for one (2009, when he made 26), while Jimenez can make the same claim of every season since 2007, before which he was exclusively playing the shorter, minor league schedule, making at least 25 starts each year since his first year of A-ball in 2003 — Santana has tended to go deeper into games. Over their last 128 starts — which for both men includes a disastrous 2012 season — Santana has thrown 840.1 innings to Ubaldo’s 769.1. Some of that can be explained away by the boom-or-bust nature of Ubaldo’s recent years, or the fact that he was bad for longer, or that he pitched in the NL for one of those seasons, but it’s a fact worth noting.

Also worth noting is the difference between what FIP and what straight-up runs allowed (i.e. RA9) tells us. FanGraphs’ FIP-based WAR gives Jimenez a two win advantage over Santana over the last three seasons (6.6 to 4.6), though they were both worth about the same in 2013 (albeit with Ubaldo having thrown nearly 30 fewer innings). By RA9-wins things look vastly different: Santana has been nearly five-and-a-half wins better (8.5 to 3.1) over the last three years, and as such, he looks better by Baseball Reference’s RA9-based WAR. In fact, Ubaldo’s rWAR is just 2.7 in total over the last three years, while Santana has twice exceeded that value in a single season. His poor 2012 knocks him back to 4.5 wins in total, but it’s still impressive.

Then again, take the two seasons before that and Ubaldo kills Santana, 13.1 wins to 2.8 in total, which pretty much brings us back to our original problem, and ultimately takes us away from the more immediate questions at the core of this debate: has Ubaldo genuinely turned a corner, and will Santana’s newfound use of the sinker legitimately suppress a home run rate that would be hard to stomach at Rogers Centre?

In his disastrous 2012 Santana gave up 39 home runs, and pitching at Rogers Centre, he certainly can’t be that guy again. Even the 26 he surrendered in 2013 are bad enough, but that’s back to about his career norm for a season total, and it’s certainly understandable how it happened, given a small uptick in velocity and the massive increase in slider usage that Keith Law identified. According to Brooks Baseball (since the sinker isn’t picked up in the data available at FanGraphs) Santana used the pitch 21% of the time last year after not using it at all in 2012, and even that adjustment takes him down to only just barely palatable.

He doesn’t have stuff Ubaldo can flash, but nor will he give up the walks. He’s durable, his groundball rates have increased in recent years — he even induced grounders at a higher rate than Ubaldo in each of the last two seasons, despite his career mark being nearly 8% lower — and some of the scary one- and two-range WAR figures you see on his FanGraphs page are very possibly mitigated to an extent, for whatever it’s worth, by how well he’s outperformed his FIP in terms of RA9.

Add all of that to the fact that he doesn’t have the mechanical concerns — and, perhaps, to the possibility that the Jays are terrified by the memory of last year’s constant, futile tinkering with Josh Johnson, not to mention so many of the same sorts of fantasies about him having actually figured his reinvention out in the back half of 2012 — and you can start to see why they might genuinely be edging Santana’s way.

The lure of Ubaldo and all those strikeouts and that superb second half has got to be strong — I’ve certainly felt he was by far the better option, basically until I was about halfway through this post — but if this off-season is to be about cutting down on the volatility, removing as much of the boom-or-bust from the roster, and appreciating the high floor over the high ceiling, I can see it. I can definitely see it.

At least he won’t issue a bunch of walks before the billion home runs he’s going to give up, wherever he lands in 2014. And if you read the Blue Jays Plus piece you’ll also see that, apparently, Santana is pals with Bautista and Encarnacion, and they’re pushing for him, too. Hey, at least it’s a reason to think he’d maybe choose the Jays in the end, even if the Yankees or Dodgers end up sniffing around. Because, hoo boy, they can posture all they want about internal options, but they really do need someone.

Comments (254)

  1. Fuck. Not THIS shit again.

  2. Olney, this morning:

    “As written here last week, the Blue Jays are in an excellent position to take a shot at signing either Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez. In at least one corner of the organization, there is a lot of interest in Jimenez, because of his power stuff.”

    http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/buster-olney/post/_/id/4360

  3. Call me cynical but I think this Blue Jays Plus article may be a case of an agent or an agent’s assistant using a young blogger (i think Gideon Turk is 17 or something) without much journalism experience to drum up market buzz for their client. I dunno… may be I’m just a jerk but I’m skeptical of that ‘heavy’ report.

    • I don’t see how it’s drumming up too much, but it definitely smells agent-y.

      Not to shit on it, because it’s a great bit of information– good on those guys.

    • Gideon and the BJP team is pretty well connected, though.

  4. And Rosenthal, on Twitter, just now:

    “Agents for Ubaldo Jimenez telling clubs that he still expects to sign a multi-year deal at $14 million-plus annually.”

    So that’s dropped from $17-$20M to $14M+, from earlier reports on a four-year term.

  5. Damn you, Stoeten. I’ve been trying to put Tanaka out of my mind and now here I am with half wood again.

    • Google Hitomi Tanaka, it will either hurt or help you Tanaka wood issue, depending on your preferences.

  6. I don’t think there a a snowball in hells chance of the Blue Jays getting Tanaka. They were supposedly panting madly for Darvish back in the day and we know how that history lesson panned out. They dont have the balls for it, btw the Marlins trade wasn’t ballsy everyone would have done it. The issue is it didn’t work out so far and thats why as a GM you lose your job.

    • Right, except that’s all garbage.

    • I don’t think the Jays don’t have the balls for it. I think they do.

      I have a hard time seeing why Tanaka would choose to come here of all places, though. The only way we’re getting him is if we blow everyone else’s offer out of the water.

      • I don’t not don’t won’t don’t disagree with you.

      • Why? If the Jays are offering the same money as everyone else, I’d think they’d be near the top of the list.

        If it is Jays, Yankees, Dodgers, Dodgers have the competitive edge, but Jays can be seen as ahead of the Yankees.

        Toronto might also have the mulit-cultural advantage.

        • Over New York? And Los Angeles?

          We all know Toronto is great, but those cities have geographic advantages (LA has shorter flights back to Japan, New York is New York), and advantages in terms of franchise stature. Plus, even if the Yankees are down right now, at least a guy knows he’s never going to get stuck in a rebuild if he goes there, and you can’t say that for the Jays at all.

          It would be tough for them to pull it off, in other words, but definitely not impossible.

          If those really are the only three serious markets (which I highly doubt) I don’t think there’s a huge difference in terms of the tax issue, but I’m not 100% on that. Another… not advantage, but something that at least isn’t a disadvantage is the fact that there’s no penalty for the Jays being in “not America,” since both countries are just as foreign to Tanaka. It’s also possible that he’s just not the type of guy who’d want to play in the spotlight of New York or LA– some certainly aren’t.

          • I’m sure Toronto could gain an advantage over New York or LA, or any other team, by offering to pay more. Or more more.

      • There us a scientific explanation for why Tanaka may elect Toronto over all his other suitors.

        Call it the Munenori effect. Although this is directly in conflict with the Ichiro! effect in New York.

        • Because all Japanese people are friends!

        • Kawasaki might be a dork in Japan and the reason why Tanaka stays away. A personality clash maybe. I mean, when have you not seen Muni doing something awkward and fucked up. Tanaka would have to spend a considerable amount of time with him if he speaks no English.

    • What a load of shit Robbo. The Jays were in on Darvish, and lost in a blind auction. They have a better shot in this live auction, provided they are willing to pay more than anyone else.

  7. Am I the only one who thinks Tanaka will be shit? He doesn’t possess anywhere near the type of talent Darvish has. Personally I’d much rather see them land a Ubaldo or Santana…

    • You are.

    • Hey Tommy John,
      how many of Tanaka’s starts have you watched?

      • even if the Japanese league is comparable to AAA I am pretty sure you’d be going apeshit about a AAA pitcher that just went 24-0

        • Wins?? Really?

          • Wins aren’t a great measure but you’d have to be reallllllly creative to find a way that going 24-0 would be a bad sign.

            • Still utterly meaningless without context, though. For all we know he could pitch for an offensive juggernaut of a team.

              • Less meaningful, not meaningless.

              • Well, not UTTERLY meaningless. You’d probably find a decent-ish correlation between wins and whatever advanced stat you want to use to measure pitcher effectiveness.

                • i’m just saying you’d probably be hard pressed to find a pitcher who had, let’s say, a 700 winning percentage at any level who had poor peripherals

                  • Bob Welch at 27-6 with a 4.19 FIP and just 1.6 WAR in 238 innings is one.

                    • He did have a tiny ERA in a year where the Nippon leagues used a more lively ball(forget what they called it), and saw the average amount of runs per team per game jump up almost a whole run.

                • If it weren’t utterly meaningless, why would you have to even bother correlating it to a better stat?

                  Anyway, technically I see what you mean, but let’s please not get into a semantic debate here. Throw pitcher wins away. They are garbage.

                  • Jack Morris belongs in the Hall of Fame.

                  • well I certainly didn’t see that coming

                  • Wins is a flawed stat but completely meaningless?

                    Maybe FIP, WAR and other stats are better indicators of performance than wins but don’t necessarily accurately measure performance in every case the same as wins doesn’t.

                    Oakland in the early 90s had top offence. 4.19 FIP but how much of that is runs he gave up eating innings throwing to contact in with the lead? How much is due to poor fielding metrics or him not getting strikeouts pitching to contact skewing FIP? He had 2.95 ERA with 230IP and won the MVP. 1.6 Wins above replacement doesn’t seem to reflect reality there.

                    Dickey was eating innings when Jays were behind and ahead – how much better would his stats look if he was taken out earlier like other pitchers are?

                    Morris HOF I don’t know likely not but his wins cant simply be disregarded without considering him playing on good offensive teams and eating innings throwing strikes likely inflated his other stats too. Shouldn’t get in based on wins alone either.

                    Can drive you crazy watching guys walk batters with a big lead and makes you wonder if they are concerned more about their stats than what is best for the team sometimes as Morris talks about maybe too much on the air

    • I haven’t seen him pitch, but he looks a little light in his loafers in clips.

  8. All obvious shit that everyone with a memory beyond 2013 should know. Thanks for the “insight”

  9. Hey Stoeten , we asked for homework on the two pitchers, not a whole Coles Notes lol.
    Great job on the article.
    Going to be a great month for jays fans I think.

  10. not going to hold my breath for Tanaka – although, i do agree that we are in a top spot to grab him. I see him going for 15mil a year for 6 years. Just a guess, but GMs dont normally give prospects 100mil deals…which is what we have to view Tanaka as right now….a prospect that will make the opening day roster….

    i have been a santana fan for a few years now anyway…..yes 2012 sucks blah blah, and he does give up HRs, but he will give us a 3rd 200ip SP, when was the last time we had that?

    • They don’t normally get the opportunity to give players this young this kind of deal, because the CBA prevents it. It’ll be north of the total package for Darvish, I’d wager.

      • your right in the age…..but i just can’t see it being more the 15 per year. anything more then that is a big over pay. We know he is good, but we dont know how good yet, and we dont know how the AL east will treat him.

        I would love to see Tanaka, but quietly i feel better about a Santana signing.

        • He will absolutely get more than that from someone. There’s no certainty on anyone, so talking in such terms I don’t get at all. To think that $14M is OK, but a little more is crazy I don’t get either.

    • 2011 romero

      • you mean that guy that was an AllStar and that got Cy young votes? wierd they would buy out his arb years after a big season like that….thats just wierd

    • The Fangraphs crowdsource had Tanaka somewhere around $17-$20M on a 6 or 7 year deal. It’s usually pretty close.

  11. There is a large Japanese community in Toronto. a no brainer for me and Rogers.

  12. I don’t know if I can stand getting wound up for Tanaka…and then having my heart ripped out again.
    Worst of all would be all the morons who say the Jays “didn’t have the balls to compete”. I’m sure their offer will be competitive – but at the end of the day, it’s up to Tanaka to play eenie-meenie-minie-mo to pick which ginormous vault of money he’d rather have.
    The Jays could offer 10M more…but if he wants to live on the West Coast – hey, waddagonnado?

  13. “And there are many levels on which it makes sense to at least try, and try really fucking hard.”

    Yeah – even if we lose out, let’s JACK the price up on the Yankees.

  14. Can you depend on morrow for 2014?

    • As much as the red sox trust Buchholtz i reckon.

    • This nonsense drives me up the wall. Over the last three years, of 975 starters (granted, many of who are spot starters and such), just 40 pitchers have averaged 30 starts per season or more. 1.33 per team.

      Practically nobody can be relied on. The way it gets talked about is absurd, as is the disconnect that especially has to do with Morrow in this city. Yes, he’s gotten hurt. He’s a pitcher. Let’s not be ridiculous about it.

      • really? correct me if im wrong but Morrow has been in the 200 inning range once in his career? the guy has not proven any kind of durability. i like his pitching, but he cant be relied upon to stay healthy.

        • KevDog – actually take the time to really look at it.

          He was a reliever with the M’s, so in his first two full seasons (2010 & 2011) as a starter, he was on innings limits. In 2012, he had the oblique injury and then in 2013 a completely unrelated injury.

          So, like seriously….fuck off already.

  15. here is my question…..

    When we sign a SP……what does that do to the 25 man roster

    We already have too many pitchers right……so who do we trade…?

    • Happ.

      • what’s the astros rotation going to look like?
        maybe they’d give something of decent value for a few #5/#6 type cheap arms to fill out the rotation.

        • I like Delino Deshields jr.
          I’m not sure what we’d have to give them but he’s blocked by Altuve.
          Stole 100 bags in 2012 and had a .405 OBP in 13.

        • happ makes over 1 mil, which is all the stros are willing to pay now that they blew their budget on Crain.

      • Happ + Rasmus + Santos to a contender should get you back a couple really good prospects (especially as Rasmus is potentially worth a 1st round pick).

        Keep one that you like and trade one for a good 2B.

        • if you had those 3 in the mix for a trade, you would want a shit ton back, likely more then most teams could afford

          but lets take a loot at teams that need a
          Power hitting LHB CF Gold glove level D 5 war player….
          a Closer
          and a 5th Starter…..

          AL east is out…cause, why the fuck we would is crazy…

          AL Cent
          Tigers – no
          Indians – yes
          KS – No
          Twins – going to say no cause they are a lot deeper now at OF and SP
          White Sox – doesn’t fit what they are trying to do

          AL West
          Angels – No
          Texas – no
          Seattle – yes
          Astros – yes – but wont – looking at 20 plus Mil in pay roll – or a 50% bump, not going to happen
          As – no

          NL East
          Braves – no
          Mets – maybe – but wont
          Nats – no
          Miami – yes but wont
          Phils – no

          NL Cent
          Cards – no
          Reds – yes
          pits – no
          Bewers – no
          Cubs – yes

          NL West
          Dodgers – no
          Dbacks – no
          Giants – no
          Padros – no
          Rockies – no

          so 4 teams – Seattle/Reds/Indians/Cubs

          Seattle is the first choice that jumps out at ya……..but after going threw all that its all a waste, if the Jays want to win now, we have to have Colby in CF, just the way it has to go. Unloading Happ and /or Santos is fine by me, but without Colby on one of those trades, the value is way way lower. So this was just a fun time waster.

          • Well I appreciate the effort LB. I disagree that we can’t win without Colby though. Put it this way” instead of Colby, we’ll have Gose. Gose is better on the base paths and just as good in the field. His bat is not great, but there is still hope that he can become a productive hitter.

            Meanwhile in Goins we have solid defence and plain average speed and a very weak bat that we have no reason to believe will get better.

            So if we could get a veteran, solid 2B, on a contract for more than just this year, I think it makes us better overall.

            • I would rather have Colby and Goins then Gose and someone else…..dont know if you missed it, but he was the Jays best all around player last year.

          • @LB – or to put it another way, would you rather have Gose or Goins? Gose of course. Now in this case choosing Gose also gets you a solid prospect. Seems a no-brainer, if, if, if, you can find a trade partner.

        • Good lord.

    • Nobody gets traded necessarily. Guys have options or can go to the bullpen. Long way from having to make a decision.

      • if we sign 1 guy, we have 8 man BP to start the year again…..and with two platoons, or at least 2 needed at this point, we dont have the space for 8, so someone has to go. think thats why we saw Santos trade options. we have 4 SP out of options, and 8 BP arms.

      • They have a real log jam at AAA and AA though. They need to find space in Toronto for all of Redmond, McGowan, Happ, Jeffress, Romero (the out of options group), Rogers, Drabek, Hutchison, Nolin, Stroman, Jenkins, McGuire, Rasmussen, Tepera, Biebens-Dirx. That’s 9 guys for AAA and AA, 10 if you include Romero, which you probably must since it’s unlikely he’s going to Dunedin.

        • Someone will get injured, some will be optioned, some scrub will get released, someone may be part of a trade. This is so beyond not even remotely close to a concern right now it’s staggering.

          • Locks:10
            Morrow, Dickey, Buehrle, FA SP, Jansenn, Santos, Dalembar (option), McGowen, Cecil, Loup (option)

            out of options: 5 (Romero off 40 man roster)
            Happ (5M), Rogers (2.5M), Redmond, Jeffries, Luis Perez,

            2 guys too many with 13 man staff – could option Loup but doubtful. Like you said guys will get hurt anyway.

            Maybe trade Happ, Rogers (7.5M) plus and get a 2B back with others in minors for depth anyway (Stroman, Drabek, Hutchinson, Wagner) and roll with whoever is left and wins out #5 spot.

            Which team will be desperate for SP come spring? Angels are weak in SP with a few injuries maybe they trade Kendrick for Happ, Rogers, Redmond, Izturis or something? Maybe jays option Loup and make trade for 2B into year giving up excess mediocre SP?

            • Or, y’know, keep going with it for some reason.

            • think happ has one left, but would most likely opt for FA status if they tried to option him down with the 5 year vet rule.

            • Romero doesn’t sniff the team, you option/release/trade one of Rogers/Jeffress/Redmond/Perez. Not sure who has options, because why would I be looking into it at this point?

              • Stoeten, it’s obviously not a *concern* – in fact, it’s the opposite of a concern. Given Anthopoulos seems to hate wasting assets, hard to see the Jays waiving any of Perez, Happ, Rogers, McGowan, Jeffress, or Redmond. Room will be made for them, and the ones for whom room cannot be made and/or who bring the most value back will be traded. Maybe your second base *concern* can be addressed by packaging Happ and Rogers.

                Anyway, I wasn’t saying it’s a concern, just responding to your response to the guy who said Happ could be traded.

                • The “logjam” gets jammier if/when one or more SP are added and push Happ and McGowan/Redmond/etc out of the 4/5 spot.

  16. The back and forth rationalization in this post reminded me of this scene from the Princess Bride. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_eZmEiyTo0) I don’t know what to think now! Better just nail down Tanaka.

  17. The offseason is finally starting to get a little exciting.

  18. http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/whos-better-masahiro-tanaka-or-yu-darvish/

    Great free article by Ben Badler at Baseball America comparing Darvish and Tanaka. As I said before, he might not be quite as good as Darvish at the major league level but there’s nothing wrong with performing at 75% or 80% of that level either. Would still be a huge upgrade.

    Not sure why I continue to hold out hope considering how brutal the Darvish letdown was at the time, but it sure is a nice dream for a freezing winter afternoon.

    I also wonder if AA losing out on Chapman and Darvish in the past will have anything to do with the Jays being aggressive this time around. Also it doesn’t hurt that guys like Puig and Cepedes also had immediate impacts for their teams. I know they are completely separate cases but the recent evidence is pretty compelling especially when you factor in the immediacy of the help he can provide and the fact that they aren’t giving up additional assets on top of the cash to get him.

  19. Tanaka is going to get near double what ubaldo gets, is it worth it?

    obviously no one can answer that accurately, but its worth the discussion

    • Given the age difference, ceiling difference, and lack of giving up a pick….it just might bridge that gap in my mind.

      Tanaka @ 100mil > Ubaldo @ 60mil

    • If Ubaldo is talking north of $14 million per season (which seems a bit low) then I doubt Tanaka gets more than 50% more a season but one thing is for certain you can never say never with the way baseball salaries have escalated these last couple of years. Again going back to Darvish and Chapman, both those deals which looked pricey and risky at the time look like bargains now so it’s probably not a stretch for a team to view it as a good investment this time around.

  20. Tanaka started out as a catcher. I keep loving this guy the more I read about him.

    The whole Usbaldo/Santana debate has me at a complete loss, I’ve flip-flopped twice this winter. I feel like a slut.

    Break the bank for Tanaka. Please?

    • I am still inclined to go with Ubaldo because of the upside. A lot of pitchers have been pretty good at making adjustments to their mechanics later in their careers and flourishing even as they’ve lost some of their velocity.

      • The mechanics have dogged him forever, he doesn’t have the same upside without the velocity (which doesn’t appear to be coming back), and you’re completely discounting Tanaka’s upside, then? Not going to find a lot of people who say he has less upside than Ubaldo.

        • No there’s a big misunderstanding I was referring to Smasher’s comments on the flip flopping regarding Santana and Ubaldo. I am huge on Tanaka as I’ve said a few times now even if he’s just 75-80% of Darvish then that’s a huge upgrade for the Jays. None of the free agents are likely to match that. Would have no problem with the Jays giving him $20 million a year.

  21. Interesting. The kid, oblivious to all the nuance and BS involved in the FA process, picks up a phone and calls the people involved. A fresh approach!
    At long last the Jays SHOULD be in on the top FA. I like the timing. The Yankees are all tied up with having paid a $28 MM penalty on last year, and trying to figure out what to bid on Tanaka while hoping the ghost of ARod doesn’t come home to roost at $25 MM for 2014 . I’m not so sure the 211 game suspension on ARod will stick. And even if it does, after 2014, they will still owe him $61 MM.
    There’s still some big players left in the game after the Yankees and of course Tanaka has to want to go to Toronto, but, it’s not totally out of the realm.
    Crap. I’m sucked in again. All i need now is for Kevin Gray to tell me he has a very good Japanese friend who knows something.

    • What an absolute joke it would be if A-Rod got the full 211. I say that, of course, not knowing all the evidence, but seriously.

      • It’s very probable that it’s reversed completely in the sense that the arbitrator isnt a management shill but a competant go-between agreed on by both parties.

  22. How do you outbid the Yankees and the Dodgers for Tanaka?
    This is a suggestion I posted a while back.

    Offer 7yr at $18m per.
    FRONT load the contract so it pays 22-22-22-18-14-14-14
    Give him opt out options after years three and four.

    Jays get him for a championship run in ’14, ’15 and ’16.
    He gets to re-enter the free agent market at 28 or 29 years of age.
    when he will still be young enough to command another mega contract.

    To get him to choose the Jays, they will need to offer a creative contract
    that has benefits for him over and above what the big two are offering.
    The chance to re-enter free agency after 3yr with $66m in his pocket
    while having added protection against injury (years 4-7) is a pretty good deal.

    • I’ve said similar things before about the opt out but I would just make years 4+ player options at similar rates to increase the incentive. Again they can promise not to attach a qualifying offer if he decides to move on to sweeten the deal. However, at the end of the day those teams can offer everything the Jays can along with a winning pedigree and desirable location. It’s just going to come down to whether they are willing to stretch themselves financially. At least in theory the Jays are kind of lucky this year, the Yanks are limbo about A-Rod and supposedly want to stay under the cap. The Dodgers have two huge extensions to do with Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez first and are already stacked in starting pitching.

      • The player opt out is great unless his ceiling is a no. three(we will not know until he gets here) or breaks down then we are paying him for seven. If that would set us apart from the competition it would be worth a try.

    • Why take all that risk with the backend player options that he gets hurt or whatnot? Simply offer more per year has the same effect but less risk. At end of the day you have to pony up more money than competition and don’t necessarily need to take on a ton of additional risk by having 4 years where you either don’t have him or are paying even though he cant play. A high AAV team option with large buyout is more like what AA likes to do to limit risk. If he gets hurt he gets a big buyout and otherwise he gets a large AAV when team picks up option.

    • Terrible idea.

      Your completely discounting the posting fee.

      Add that to this contract and the Jays may potentially pay $86 million over 3 years for Tanaka…. With no guarantee he will even be that good.

      With contract inflation over the next 3years even an OK pitcher may opt out of the last 4 years of this contract.

      Besides. Front loading a contract with player opt outs is the epitome of risk without reward. If he’s great he leaves and opts out of the small money. If he sucks he stays on the payroll forever.

      With player opt outs you should backload it if anything. That way you guarantee yourself a below market rate until the opt out if the player is good…. And make them think twice about leaving when the option comes to cut ties.

      you’re screwed either way if they’re terrible

  23. Tanaka just bought a condo in North York.

  24. I’m curious Stoeten.. do you get decent communication with people who we would all consider “inside sources”? A couple times recently you have mentioned “hearing” things and i’m just wondering if your position as one of the preeminent Jays bloggers gives you access beyond twitter (no snark intended here at all)

    • Not really, no. Or, maybe it does, but I don’t try to use it for that, so I don’t really know.

  25. I guess the good thing about Santana and Ubaldo is that they are not from the states. They won’t have the “American” bias in there decision. From travelling it seems the US is hated most everywhere but the US. With our Latin players it might give us a leg up that we don’t usually have.

    Tanaka is not from the States either but going in the ring against NY and LA could get expensive past the point of making sense.

    I did a bus tour of Europe years ago and most the Americans on the tour wore Canadian pins or patches so the locals would give them the time of day, the few that didn’t did not get much love from the locals. The number of stars not from the states is growing which could help a team like the Jays find more players that view coming here the same as the US.

  26. Random thought for the day:

    Fuck the World Baseball Classic, get Baseball back in the Olympics.
    Just cut out the all-star game every 4 years.

    • I like that, but you need a couple of weeks in the middle of the MLB season, no?

    • Maybe WBC in middle of year every four years in between Olympics or even each of the the three off years? Pay the players for WBC their fair share of revenue in proportion to their individual MLB contracts?

      Start season a week earlier, expand rosters like they are in September and have no off days for first 3 weeks? – 10 extra games. All star game after playoffs? – 4 extra games

      Biggest issue is maybe teams not wanting players to get hurt? – they did it in hockey.

      Might try some of this in order to expand playoff format though?

    • Better thought: fuck the Olympics.

      • Dont like the olympics? Would make for some great games especially with players at top of their games in middle of summer. Looking forward to watching hockey olympics and have hardly even watched an NHL game this year.

        • The hockey is great, for sure. But they’re going to get out of the Olympics anyway, most likely, and go back to having their own tournament that they can make their own money off of, and not just bring cash in for someone else.

          As for the Olympics as a whole, I guess I’ll just say, I don’t really get why people devote their lives to sports they can’t sustain themselves playing just to get to the big stage so a bunch of people who won’t care in the slightest except for two weeks every four years can use you as a jingoist prop while huge conglomerates market the shit out the entire spectacle. I know there’s more to the convergence than just that, and I understand in believing in a sport and wanting to share that and wanting to be the best at what you do, but… I really don’t get it.

          I remember reading a thing in the Toronto Star once, that was supposed to be this great thing, about a husband and wife who row, and how they were just so absent from the lives of their young kids because they had to train so much for this absurd “Olympic dream” (TM) and I just kind of found it appalling. Things are more complicated than that, and there’s good and bad, for sure, but… I don’t know, I get the sense there’s just something weird and seedy about the whole enterprise, and that it’s all there in the entitlement people have about having people give a shit about any of it when it’s really just content.

          I’m sure I could explain myself better if I had the wherewithal to write an essay. Those couple of half-formed thoughts there are kinda shit.

          • Actually although it was cynical it was quite succinct.
            The IOC is a Billion dollar whore that commercializes all the good out of the games.
            The athletes sacrifice their social lives, pockets and family. And they’re told to do it for their love of country. The pro’s who go for hockey and hoops at least have the million dollar contracts when all is said and done. The amateur athlete gets fleeting fame(if they even medal) and four years of loans to pay off.

            I want to see baseball in the Olympics for the most selfish of reasons, it will be greatly entertaining.

            You can’t fix the Olympics. They’re like a pharmaceutical company, they pretend their motives are to enrich mankind but they won’t do it unless they can turn a profit.

            • @ Smasher agreed just want to see some great games.

              Other than overbearing parents nobody is forcing these athletes to pursue these sports and overbearing parents can force that kid who needs algebra tutoring in grade ten to sacrifice his life trying for the life of him to pass Engineering courses in University. They want the fame and glory and to be the best and it isn’t like there is Team Canada whipping them saying do it for the love of your country. Lots of people pursue fleeting dreams sacrificing time and money not getting any support.

            • + Billions and Billions Smasher.

              Just say No

          • If my parents neglected me growing up because they “had” to row, I would beat both to death with an oar the first chance I got.

          • totally agree.

  27. Please let’s stay calm. I really hope they get Tanaka but I’m not interested in getting sucked into that black hole of hope/despair that occurred during and after the Darvish Debacle. Back then, if you remember, the Jays were apparently the top contender for the best starter to come out of Japan. And then they weren’t. I’ll start salivating over Tanaka after he’s signed up, not before.

    • Anyone know what the timeline is for Tanaka? Like, when it’ll all be over? Can’t find anything myself.

      • Deadline for a deal is Jan. 24

        • Thats the key word too: “Deal”. Apparently all the $20 MM bidders (read, anyone who’s in at all) get to make their best picth once they bid their $20 MM.

          • Hasn’t the deadline passed for the posting fee and we’re into the negotiating window? Weird there have been no rumours/leaks/reports on who posted and who’s been talking to Tanaka’s camp.

            • There is no posting. Tanaka is a free agent and whichever team he signs with has to pay Rakuten $20 million.

              • Semantics, but it is still a posting fee. The larger point is that the negotiating window is open and I find it weird that there have been no reports of which teams the Tanaka camp has talked to.

    • We’re talking about two totally different scenarios. I suspect the Jays felt they posted a competitive bid for Darvish but everyone got blown away by the Rangers. Now, anyone who posts the maximum $20MM gets to negotiate with the player. I don’t doubt the Jays will pony up the dough for him if they truly have interest in signing the guy, I just don’t see why he’d take it over a couple of marquee franchises like the Dodgers or Yankees. Dude’s only 25, so he’ll get to test the market again if he’s that good. Tanaka can write is own ticket really.

  28. After what happened last time… I’m not going to get excited about this until it actually happens.

    If this report that the Jays are going after Tanaka are true… does that mean the Kowasaki signing isn’t a coincidence after all?

  29. Maybe talk about Santana isn’t so moot. I recall AA saying several weeks ago something along the lines of he’s trying to add 2 SPs (and a 2d base upgrade). If we take him at his word, then maybe we should start entertaining the possibility of Tanaka AND Santana coming our way.

  30. Hesitant and wary of rumors from a new blog obviously hoping for improved viewer traffic which so far has shown negativity towards Blue Jays clubhouse, again in effort to drum up web views. Thanks all the same I will await the real announcement and Andy has my confidence in that area to get real and honest information.

    • We’ve actually been around for a while, just on different websites. I started the original BJP in 2010, and the rest of the ownership group has been blogging on various sites for 2-3 years. We just amalgamated in September. So the site’s look is new, but the site itself is actually turning 4 in May.

      • Turk, you addressed one small portion of his statement but conveniently avoided the question of how you sourced your material.
        It seems as though you subbed “Heavy on” for “interested in” and suddenly the hype is hysteria.

        Very subjective terms.

        • Holy fucking dumb, Smasher.

          Like, you understand how quotation marks work, right?

          • I’m not trying to shit on the guy. AA acknowledged that the Jays are interested in Tanaka. This source says “heavy on”. That can mean anything or was it just creative license?

            I’m heavy on blue eyed blondes, but only when I’m on top.

    • Yeah, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

      And the fact that I passed it along tells you what, then?

  31. The equation for Rogers is simple… Sign Tanaka, Sign Jimenz or Santana, have a full stadium in Aug/September and the crazy TV ratings you want, profit.

  32. Stoeten, I think it is still up for debate whether this or 2B is the most-pressing area. Even that Fangraphs article projects 2B at replacement-level for the Jays. It’s not ideal, at all, but it’s not a negative blackhole like we saw most of last year, and it helps that Goins’ area of strength, defense, addresses what was an issue for the team.

    • It’s awful.

      And as Cameron points out, he’s really not the defender people are expecting him to be based on that tiny sample. Good? Yes. Above average, even. But if he played 150 games at the rate he was going (at least based on UZR, which, yes, isn’t perfect) he’d have been the best defender at any position in baseball. It’s just not realistic to think that he’ll keep it up, and then what?

      • So he’d regress a bit, but is it insane to think he’d be among the top 5 or 10 defenders at his position? He certainly looked that good. Also , because I too do not like the idea of Goins starting with basically no plan B should he implode spectacularly, should the Jays have interest in Justin Turner or Scott Sizemore, or are they not enough of an upgrade over izturis?

        • That’s more than a bit of regression.

          If he actually played 150 games accumulating value by UZR the exact way he did in his call-up, he’d have been the best second baseman in baseball by 20 runs– more than triple the amount of runs saved of the third best fielder at the position.

          Just not realistic he’s going to provide that kind of value.

          And even in the more optimistic of the two projections currently on his FanGraphs page, he works out to being 0.6 WAR, and that’s with a defensive component of fWAR higher than any other 2B achieved in 2013. I still don’t think that’s realistic. I mean, ideally we’d be using three years worth of UZR data, and here we’re extrapolating from a 200-odd inning sample. Huge chance it’s a small sample size fluctuation that’s not sustainable.

          The other projection likes his bat better (a whopping 67 wRC+) but puts his defence in the middle of the pack, which comes out to 0.1 WAR. Ugh.

      • At this point in his career, eye test is probably the best way to evaluate his defense, and it looks above average at minimum. He’s always had a solid glove; now he’s a good glove SS playing 2B. What reason do you have, beyond “you can’t maintain that high a UZR,” do you have to think it’s going to regress? Age shouldn’t be a concern, and injury is unpredictable. But it’s not like he was fluking into the plays he made.

        • The reason is exactly what you said: because he looks like he ought to be pretty good. He doesn’t look all-world, best at his position by far, best defender in baseball, which is what the numbers make him look like last year. And if he’s not that, the more he needs to make up for it with the bat, which is something he’s going to have a hell of a time doing, on account of the fact that he can’t hit.

          He wasn’t fluking into the plays, but they’re not distributed evenly, either. You can’t expect that kind of defence to continue. It’s not an age or a skill thing, it’s a sample size thing. He’s simply not as good as he looked.

          • Thanks. I reread your original comment and aside from saying “it’s awful” you’re more reasonable than I thought at first. (It’s not awful; last year was awful; it’ll be replacement level notwithstanding a trade for an upgrade.)

            Are sample size and distribution the same thing??

          • I hope Goins comes in and hits .275 and plays solid D and silences the haters.. i believe in the kid.

      • Not saying your wrong but I just wonder why you think Goins can’t be one of the best defensive second baseman in the league? You mention UZR but due to the small sample you really can’t rely on it. It says Goins was really really good but we will ignore that. What are you relying on to say he will be good maybe top 10 and not great say top 3 on defense?

    • The defence MIGHT make up for a weak bat or for poor speed. But the guy gets caught stealing 50% of the time, in the minor leagues. And he doesn’t exactly walk much and he strikes out a fair bit. He is at best a defensive replacement, like Johnny Mac. Maybe he has good splits and can pinch hit in a situational role. But like the guy is probably equivalent to JP Arencibia, but at a position that should be even easier to fill.

      • Yet, the Jays have had more options at C than 2B recently, including the easiness with which they were able to replace Arencibia.

  33. how about pass on Tanaka and sign/trade for 2 of Jiminez, Santana, Smardjz, Garza ?

  34. I haven’t really been following this Blue Jays Plus too closely. What’s their track record for this sort of thing?

    • In terms of what?

      • Stuff like “only two teams will make formal offers to Santana”.

        • What about it? They’re saying what somebody told them.

        • Even if you heard that yourself straight from the horses mouth, it still may not happen. I wouldn’t read this as anything other than “it might be like this”.

          • And I would hope to hell that it’s crystal clear that I presented it as such.

            But, look, anyone can talk to an agent, or reach out to a player or someone in a front office, or someone who knows someone who knows something– whatever it is. Sometimes they’ll tell you stuff. The reporter’s job is to give that stuff context and use judgement in passing it along if it’s newsworthy. Anyone who has been following the guys at BJP for a while now, as I have, would see pretty plainly that they’re sincere about what they’re doing and interested in taking it further, not blowing up their hard work by trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes for a week of splashy pageviews.

            Yes, that’s me using my own judgement. And that’s not to say that I endorse everything that’s written as being true to Alex Anthopoulos as it was (supposedly) true to whoever said it (assuming that source’s agenda was to be truthful), but I endorse it in the way that I’ve explained in writing about it in the post. Age? Supposed authority? Who cares?

            We all have brains, we can grasp how this stuff came to be published without resorting to “name your sources or I don’t believe you” stuff that you wouldn’t pull on Shi Davidi or Jeff Blair. Of course, the argument there would be that those guys have earned the trust, and that’s fair, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and like I say, it’s obvious these guys are sincere. Obviously I’m comfortable passing it along, covered in my own caveats, of course.

            It’s good to be questioning of everything and everyone’s agenda, and if there are people out there who can’t do that, they’re probably already having a hard time functioning in this world, so… yeah, I think we can handle it. And call me naive, but I have zero doubt that somebody said those things. How connected the statements are to the genuine truth and what path the information may have taken to get from there to here, I don’t know.

            Same is true of when Blair says stuff, though obviously there’s an element of authority and an element of the fact that he’s physically present among people who’d know this stuff, but as long as we’re aware of all of that stuff– and I try my best to keep people aware of it when I present it here– I see a lot more value in not being dismissive of it than I see harm. Doesn’t mean anyone should swallow it whole, either, but nobody’s asking you to.

            • Take it easy Andrew, I wasn’t insinuating anything. You seem to think they’re on the level, which is good to know.

              Their writing could use some work though. Light years behind the quality of your own work.

              • Didn’t mean for it to come off like I was laying into you, definitely a common thought, and an understandable one. That was more a general address.

            • No worries, not from me anyway. I’m totally happy to read and discuss this simply for what it is – a possibly correct view on how things might be setting up.

    • Generally they post pretty good analyses but I have no idea if their sources for this kind of thing is any good.

  35. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cubs land Tanaka.

  36. I’m warming up to Tanaka, but.. meh. I’m still hoping for Ubaldo. I still think he’s the best option in terms of already-known talent, lesser workload, and possibly would come cheaper.

    • Definitely would come cheaper. Otherwise nope.

      • Ubaldo’s pitched fewer innings, but he’s faced almost .25 more batters per inning over the last three years than Santana, and only faced about 170 fewer batters over that time period.

      • In terms of workload, you have to be worried about giving that kind of money for an arm that should already be an injury concern. Has Jimenez been on the DL at all in the last six years? It looks like he’s made all his starts.

  37. Any word on Melky?

    • Yep. He’s our Left Fielder.

      • here is something we didn’t think about when talking about Adam Lind vs LHP…..

        Melky – DH
        Sierra plays LF

        Lind power Lefty off bench for the most likely late inning RHP replacement…….

        • Navarro DH, Kratz catch? Kratz is very good at defence apparently and if there is a good hitting 2B jays could afford the weak bat in lineup and give Navarro time off so he doesn’t break down.

  38. Maybe this oversimplifying things, but I feel there’s something to be said for Rogers/Blue Jays making a statement that last year’s big frenzy was not just a “one-time thing”.

    I think people understand that when a team seems to go all-in, it doesn’t always work out. Even Vegas had the Jays as favourites early on, so it’s not a case of stupid fans following a lost cause. There was (and probably still is) real reason for hope.

    What I think people don’t forgive so easily, is a situation where a team makes a one-time splash but then backs away because of early failure. And to be honest, I just can’t see the Jays backing off from big signings like Tanaka just because we had a disappointing 2013.

    Personally, I think we will continue to be among the players for a lot of big free agents. Now let’s get some grass in the Rogers Centre ASAP!

    • I agree wholeheartedly that those are reasons they SHOULD be continuing to throw money around. They’ve got to put their money where their mouth is (or… well… isn’t, for the time being) before I believe them.

  39. Why not sign all 3?

    Backload slightly (not too much, but just to get things manageable till 2016)

    Trade away all spare parts for talent deep in the minors.

    The pay roll could come in around 150 mil, which Beeston said a few years back we could do (“maybe not New York, but we can have a payroll with the Boston’s of the world”)

    Take advantage of the two protected first round picks.

    Having 4 starters make 30 start is a very good thing, just ask Drew…..

    http://blogs.thescore.com/mlb/2014/01/03/url-weaver-desert-dreams-and-shallow-depth/#more-82043

    • And then we’ll reanimate the corpse of Walter Johnson and sign him too!

      • Problem is, reanimating the corpse of Walter Johnson is impossible.

        What I’m suggesting is possible.

        • How? The payroll is at 135M now with raise/extension due to Rasmus.

          I suppose you could try to trade the “spare parts” making money – Happ(5M), Rogers(2.5M), Izturis (3.3M), Jansenn (4M) -> 15M total. and/or backload the deals and pay each 5M next year with big money coming in 2016 and beyond.

          You have convinced me – sign all 3 AA! (Walter Johnson and Rogers Hornsby too)

          • 155 mil payroll (Beeston possible)

            minus

            135 payroll with Colby

            plus

            10 mil Buehrle trade

            plus

            5 mil spare parts

            equals 35 million

            Result…

            Ubaldo 10 mil
            Santana 10 mil
            Tanaka 15 mil

            in the 14/15, with a little back loading in 16/17/18

            • Why is Santana better than Buehrle?

              • Santana is better than Buehrle in cost, age, and control.

                Also, to acquire a good 2B, something an assets like a good SP is what it would take in this current market.

        • They’re about equally possible.

          Or… Rogers has money, so I guess it’s more that they’re both equally likely.

      • After all 3 are signed, trade Buehrle plus to finance this endeavour and achieve a better solution at 2B.

        That a pretty decent haul for about 25 mill added to payroll.

        • Do we really think Buehrle could be traded for much right now? I guess some team that no FA wanted to sign with might bite – otherwise for 18M the next 2 years figure they would just of signed one of the FA.

          • Likely the Jays would have to take on some money (let’s say 6 or 8 mil a year or so) to make a straight trade doable.

            Remember Buehrle was very good last year when a lot of people *cough* Stoeten *cough* tuned out

            who knows what the might throw in to sweeten the deal so that the other team is willing to take more money (remember TV contract $ is everywhere).

            Remember in this circumstance, they Jays are reasonable set for starting pitching for about 3 years, so there is time to develop another wave of arms. Also, I remember a Jason Parks recently drooling about the arm the Jays have in rookie ball.

            • I think Buehrle would be a good fit in Philly,
              mind you I would have 0 interest in dealing him unless the jays picked up 2 quality starters.

  40. The one thing I keep trying to figure out is are Ubaldo and Santana opposites or are they similar? If they are opposite types of pitchers you would figure the Jays would lean more heavily towards one of them in particular but not both. The fact that we haven’t seen a separation of the two of them when the Jays are mentioned might mean the Jays don’t like either of them.

    To me, besides their age, they profile very differently. Ubaldo is the boom or bust, groundball/strikeout pitcher who’s velocity is steadily declining. Whereas Santana is the more consistent, flyball pitcher, who’s velocity has remained the same. There are elements about both of them that should scare the Jays away. Santana would probably fill more check boxes of what the Jays need, with his only strike against being that he’s a flyball pitcher. But even then you can point to good career numbers in Rogers Centre where half his starts would be.

    • Better groundball rate than Ubaldo in each of the last two seasons, FYI.

      • come on now stoet, had i posted that…you would have pulled out the…..

        “Read the Post” playing on repeat

      • Nice I had glossed over that one when I looked at their career numbers. Jimenez is tempting but I’d prefer Santana because he’s kinda like the Buerhle mould, nothing flashy, but very steady. That might be all we need with our offense.

      • From what I hear all groud balls are singles in skydome cause of the turf, so better off with the fly ball pichers because skydome isn’t great for HR’s

  41. Stoeten.

    Who’s your source these days, Perez Hilton?

    Jezuz H.

  42. I know I bang this drum a lot, but has Tanaka ever indicated that he has any interest in anything but making the most money possible? Why would we assume that the Blue Jays “will have a tough time” competing against New York or Los Angeles?

    I guess Iwakuma is an example, but he wasn’t getting more than 2 million plus incentives from anyone so it’s not like he left much on the table. Ichiro was posted in the old system. Oakland had no trouble signing Cespedes, Aroldis Chapman ended up in Cincinnati, a city well known for it’s cultural affinity to Cuba. Hideki Matsui maybe? It was so long ago I can’t remember who else was bidding on him.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m way off base. But this is basically the first Japanese ‘star caliber’ prospect to come over in the new posting system and our experience with the other international free agents to face open competition, Cuban players, doesn’t really illustrate an inherent advantage for any market over another. If we want him more, we’ll likely get him. Whether we should is another matter entirely.

  43. You’d really think that you’d want the high K guy in the dome over the pitch-to-contact guy who gives up a shitload of homers, but that stuff’s been overblown before. Santana looks a lot like Shaun Marcum to these untrained eyes.

  44. It would be one thing if it was just the Yankees we were bidding against. You can beat one team with ridiculously wealthy pockets. Maybe the GM rubs the free agent the wrong way.

    But the Dodgers and the Yankees? Those two are going to drive Tanaka’s price up to who knows what.

    I do have some hope that AA can work his magic and get Tanaka to sign on the dotted line, but it’s going to be a tough task. Still, based on a purely talent standpoint, I think it’s Tanaka we want in Toronto out of those three.

    • i thinking the jays just drive the price up with the intention of signing a safer bet ie Santana anyways?

  45. If I was any part of that organization staff, I tell them to push hard for Tanaka for several reasons

    1. We need front line starting pitching
    2. Don’t want the Yankees to get him, means more difficult competition
    3. Energize the fan base that is starving for a winner

    By no means Tanaka is a sure thing, but its a start, check in on Santana also, if Tanaka doesn’t want to come here, Ubaldo has too much moving parts on his delivery that creates too many walks.

    Spend the money and focus on the free agents first before going to trades.

    At least make an effort to try to get Tanaka, whether or not he wants to play here

  46. Thanks for the great read. More i think of it would prefer santana as well. He has pitched well in the dome more often then not. Ubaldo is alluring but to many question marks. On a side note we took Adeiny away from the yanks why cant we do the same with tanaka? If jays want it that bad they have the money no doubt.

  47. Hopefully they go all in for Tanaka, it’s only money. jack up my cable $5. Need to show Bos and NY we are on equal footing. This city needs to kick ass.

  48. i’m looking forward to the mcgowan spot start in the playoffs this year

  49. I don’t see why we dismiss Garza out of hand. Admittedly he’s been hurt the past two years but he was healthy as a horse for 5 years prior. He averages more innings per start over the past 5 years than Jimenez, but fewer than Santana. He has less WAR (all BBREF) than the other two, but is the only one who hasn’t had a below replacement season. So at the end of the day it depends what we really want.

    Santana had the highest GB/FB ratio of the three last year (good) but has been lower than Garza every other year and none of them come close to the golden Ubaldo years (probably not coming back).

    Santana also consistently has the lowest K/9 of the three since his big 2008 and has walked more than Garza (though fewer than Ubaldo) over that span.

    My point is you end up just going in circles comparing these three guys. Ubaldo and Santana are more likely to give you 30+ starts and 180+ innings. Garza is less likely to completely implode for a season.

    My personal least favorite is Santana because he’s historically more of a fly ball pitcher than the other two and strikes out fewer. Ubaldo has the higher ceiling, strikes out more and pitches more ground balls (even if you take out those two crazy years, which bring down Santana’s average). Shit, his HR percentage is way lower too, both recently and throughout his career (played in Colorado and Cleveland rather than TB/Wrigley or Anaheim/KC).

    I just don’t see how he’s the much better fundamental pitcher than Santana. I’d probably go with Ubaldo because of the above, but if we can’t get him give me Garza’s minimum of 1.5 WAR over 25 starts over Santana giving me Todd Redmond stats for 32.

    • Just to clarify that should read “don’t see how he’s NOT the much better fundamental pitcher” and the Santana thing was a worst case scenario (see 2012 season).

  50. I want Tanaka because he is JAPANESE!!!!!!

  51. You sign Santana and you have 3 roughly equivalent pitchers (Santana, plus Dickey and Buerhle). Those three guys are as much of a guarantee to give you 600 average quality innings as you can get these days, and more than anything else that means less innings going to crappy long-men in the bullpen and sub-replacement level emergency starters like Chad Jenkins, Aaron Laffey, Ramon Ortiz, Chen-Ming Wang and Ricky Romero. I would be ok with this.

    I dunno, Santana and Jimenez are probably a push in reality, but I really appreciate the reliability Santana brings. Still would like Tanaka, but Santana would be a welcome signing as well.

  52. Role Play Time:

    If the Jays don’t get Tanaka I will bitch and moan about the Jays being “cheap” and “afraid to spend” while also complaining about them “missing a golden opportunity”.

    However if the Jays get Tanaka on a mega contract I will talk of the “desperation move by AA to save his job” and be concerned about the “limitations on future payroll” and “how this will negatively impact future Jays teams”.

    Who am I?

  53. With the jays have a certain amount of money to spend signing tanaka doesn’t leave much room to add the rumoured 2 pitchers the jays are after.. Is adding just tanaka enough?
    Also what’s the thought on garza ? Less money monomial required

  54. I appreciated that blog post. I would like you to regularly keep posting, I’ll be checking frequently. Thank you friend.

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